FIRS apologises over Easter message, says it wasn’t meant to denigrate Jesus

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has apologised to
Christians over its Easter message.


On March 31, in a now-deleted post about Easter, the FIRS
wrote that “Jesus paid your debt, not your taxes”— a statement that sparked
significant public outcry among Christians.


Consequently, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)
condemned the Easter message by FIRS, demanding an apology from the agency.


CAN also described the message as “offensive and derogatory
to the Christian faith”.


Responding to CAN’s statement, Dare Adekanmbi, special
adviser, media to the FIRS, in a statement on Tuesday, said as a responsible
agency of government, the service did not put out the flier purposely to
denigrate Jesus Christ or “detract from the huge sacrifice He made for


“We are acutely aware that the essence of the Easter period
is to celebrate this huge sacrifice,” he said.


“The message was our way of uniquely engaging taxpayers and
to remind them of the need to prioritise payment of their taxes as a civic
obligation. Yes, we would say the message ruffled feathers in some circles.


According to the agency, the unintended meaning being read
into the post was not what “we were out to communicate as an agency”.


“FIRS, as a responsible agency, has no religion and will not
bring down any religion or offend the sensibilities of adherents of various
faiths in the country,” FIRS said.


“Our goal is to assess, collect and account for revenue for
the wellbeing of the Federation. We believe it is an investment in the progress
of the country when citizens pay their taxes.”


FIRS apologised to CAN and Christians who felt offended at
the unexpected consequence of the message on Easter Sunday.


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